Friday, December 30, 2005

Shopping Religious Supermarkets

As 2006 fast approaches, let’s not forget that we live in the context of what David Wells calls, “religious supermarkets.” Many people in the coming year will be browsing for the "right" inner spirituality. The following is just one illustration of what is, sadly, all too common. This interview was conducted by Marc Gunter and published in Fortune, June 26, 2001. Gunther writes,

“Not many courtroom lawyers can shut their mouths for an hour, let alone a day or a week. But Thomas Crisman, a patent attorney and litigator with Jenkens & Gilchrist, a big corporate-law firm in Dallas, leaves his business behind every winter to spend a month in silence at a meditation retreat in rural India. He does so to deepen his practice of an increasingly popular form of Buddhist meditation known as Vipassana.”

“Ordinarily a voluble man, the 59-year-old Crisman actually looks forward to his month of silence. ‘The transition can be difficult,’ he says. ‘You're coming out of a high-speed, high-energy, hard-driving world, and you're moving to a much quieter, more peaceful place.’ But the payoff is worth it, so much so that Crisman has taken a month-long retreat in India every year since 1980, when he met S.N. Goenka, a onetime Myanmar industrialist who is now among the world's leading meditation teachers. Back home, Crisman and his wife, Tina, operate a Vipassana Website and oversee a meditation center in Kaufman, Texas, that puts between 500 and 1,000 people a year through a ten-day introductory silent Vipassana course.”

“Buddhists believe that practicing meditation helps restore people to a natural state, filled with love and compassion. ‘I don't know anybody who has been through the full ten days who doesn't come out the other side of it, really, a different person,’ Crisman says. ‘It's like scrubbing the paint off the outside of the light bulb and letting the light shine through.’”

“Raised as a Baptist in West Texas, Crisman discovered meditation after experiencing a mix of career success and personal discontent. When a fellow patent lawyer named Jack Holder invited him to a retreat, Crisman figured he had nothing to lose. Holder, who recalls that Crisman cried for 45 minutes when the retreat ended, says, ‘I knew then that something had happened.’ Crisman was so taken with Vipassana that he arranged to spend several months in India and considered quitting the law. . . . Stan Moore, a law partner and friend, says, ‘Most attorneys look forward to the cocktail hour to go out and drown their stresses. Tom goes to meditate.’”

We must remember the words Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria in John 4: [13] "Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; [14] but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” [23] "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. [24] God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

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